A DOMINANT display from Reading swept Wanderers aside as they were comfortably beaten in this afternoon’s pre season friendly at Adams Park.
Russia international Pavel Pogrebnyak and youngster Jake Taylor did the damage, scoring a goal in each half to send the Berkshire club on their way to victory.
But it was a win that was far more convincing than the final scoreline would suggest, as the Royals carved out and wasted a host of excellent goalscoring opportunities.
In contrast Wanderers struggled to get the ball up to their forwards, and although they defended stoutly and with an impressive amount of grit for a friendly fixture this wasn’t a game to enthuse the fans with the season’s kick off just two weeks away.
Chances for Reading were a regular occurrence, starting early on as a bisecting pass sent the pacy Ryan Edwards clear of Gary Doherty, but having been put clean through the youngster could do no more than to pull his effort disappointingly wide of the near post.
A strong Royals team didn’t show the cutting edge of a Championship side as they wasted another gilt edged chance, Taylor blazing high over the bar from a good position after Hal Robson-Kanu had cleverly chested the ball into his path.
Backpedalling keeper Matt Ingram did well to punch clear as a Pogrebnyak header from a free kick threatened to loop in over his head, before another header from Welsh international Chris Gunter did enter the net but was disallowed for offside.
Reading’s finishing failed to match their build up play, with Michael Hector becoming the latest player to fail to cover himself in glory in front of goal as he flashed a volley dipping over the crossbar.
Wanderers’ new-look midfield duo of Peter Murphy and Josh Scowen looked industrious but all too often Blues laboured to create anything of note for the forwards.
Paul Hayes, as he had done against Chelsea, lashed out in frustration at the lack of service as he tried a shot from 40 yards that proved no difficulty for Adam Federici – a spectator until that point – to deal with.
A minute later the Royals finally went in front as Blues switched off at the back, allowing Pogrebnyak the simplest of finishes with a far post header from Jordan Obita’s inviting cross.
Taylor pulled another chance wide of the post and Robson-Kanu shot tamely straight at Ingram as the visitors had to settle for a single goal lead at the interval despite their total dominance of the first half.
The hosts almost drew level within the first minute of the second half as an unconvincing-looking Federici needed two goes at gathering in a header from Matt McClure.
Normal service was resumed as Alex Pearce had a header from a corner deflected wide, Taylor smashed a shot from a second set piece into Matt Bloomfield’s face from close quarters and half time substitute Shaun Cummings hooked the rebound off target in a frantic scramble.
Aaron Pierre then made a fantastic tackle to foil Taylor as he was about to pull the trigger from an intelligent reverse pass into the area, before the same Reading player was denied again when Tommy Fletcher flung himself at his shot.
A rare chance for Blues came Sam Wood’s way, with the midfielder flashing his effort just wide, before Pearce made a good clearance with Hayes looking to tuck away Scowen’s hanging ball in.
But Reading wasted further chances to extend their lead, as Pogrebnyak broke the offside trap only to be denied by Ingram as the keeper was out quick as a flash to beat his shot away.
Substitute Nick Blackman then caught everyone by surprise as he sent in a dipping, swirling volley from 30 yards and he was desperately unlucky to see it crash back into play off the underside of the crossbar with Ingram flapping at air.
Hayes fired straight at Federici down the other end after being fed by strike partner McClure, before Blackman scuffed wide as Reading were again guilty of profligate finishing in front of goal.
Finally the visitors made their dominance count, with Taylor getting the goal his performance warranted as he applied a cute finish in touching home a cross from the right out of Ingram’s despairing grasp.
The Royals made nine substitutions after the killer second goal and they almost had a late third as Ingram made a stunning flying save to keep out Blackman's effort, with the striker blazing wastefully over from a matter of feet on the rebound.
Wanderers: Ingram, Jombati, Doherty, Fletcher, Pierre, Bloomfield (sub Kretzschmar), Scowen (sub Evans), Murphy, Wood, Hayes (sub Craig), McClure (sub Morias). Substitutes not used: Horlock, Ainsworth, Hudson.
Attendance: 1,697 (840 from Reading)